Multiple spaghettisauce concept
Table of contents
- Moskowitz in Blink of Malcolm Gladwell
- The long-tail: why should I care about it?
- So can't you do anything about this?
- Fight the Pareto distribution
- Video about finding POIs in the Long Tail
This is a part of "Concepts & thoughts on which RouteYou based its ideas"
Moskowitz in Blink of Malcolm Gladwell
In analogy with Macolm Gladwell‘s story about Howard Moskowitz in his book Blink, we use the following concept:
- “there is no best route, only best routes”
- “there is no best network, only best networks”
- “there is no best info of a place, only best info’s”.
But what does that mean?
Moskowitz worked on making Prego spaghettisauce and came to the conclusion that there is no one best spaghetti sauce but that there are a set of ingredients defining best spaghetti sauces. Moskowitz proved that you have clusters of customers liking different types of spaghetti sauces. And that there is no one-fits-all solution. That doesn’t sound so strange now, but it was a revolution in the food-industry, because until that moment, the main method was to find for each food product the optimal combination of ingredients. And it was believed that there was only one combination which makes it optimal. You can hear the story from Gladwell yourself, here.
In the meantime, we know that you can’t approach the customer with one-fit-for-all-solution. And yet, you would be surprised how common that still is.
Let’s take the case of the domain we are working one: recreational navigation. To pick one example, let’s look into cycling. Most of the cycling maps and cycling networks provide one solution: the same for everybody. While there is a huge difference if you are a cyclist who doesn’t like steep slopes (or can’t handle it for physical reasons) vs a cyclists who just loves them as a training. Or a cyclist who goes cycling with small kids, vs a cycling groups with only adults (think about places to stop and safety hazards along the road). Or cyclists who are interested in learning something about the heritage of an area vs a cyclist who doesn’t want to do a small detour to learn about a great spot linked to history, but rather has only beautiful nature and landscapes.
And we can keep on going. Not only within the domain of cycling but also about other dimensions such as type of modi (planning a route as an in-line skater, a jogger, a Nordic walker, a hiker, a grandmother with a chariot, a wheelchair user, a race cyclist, a MTBer …). And what about thematic interests (science, history, literature, nature,..) or characteristics (child friendly, unpaved,..).
The long-tail: why should I care about it?
Italy has 402 state-owned and operated museums. These were visited in 2005 by over 33 million people... The first interesting thing to look at is the distribution of this 33 million people into the 402 museums... Very few museums have got most of the visitors, and most of them just share what’s left...this is the classical curve that describes the economic phenomenon known as oligopoly...
The first 5 museums, that represent 1.2% of the total of 402, pick up 13 million visitors, which represent 40% of all visitors to all museums. The first 9 museums, that represent 2.2% of all museums, get over 50% of all visitors. Now this leaves 393 museums to share the other half. And so on. 33 museums, that represent 8% of all museums, pick up three quarters of all visitors. This leaves 369 museums to share a quarter of all visitors. And even if you wanted to absorb 90%(!) of all visitors, that would take less than 90 museums: 310 museums, that is, three quarters of all museums, have practically no public. And that’s not because they are all uninteresting. Quite the contrary.
Francesco Antinucci presented in a conference about heritage & tourism in Italy that there was a huge overshoot of people going to the top 2% major musea in Italy (see quote above). And almost nobody goes to the 75% fantastic other musea in Italy, with even more fantastic stories and beauty. This is the typical distribution of usages of books, tourist locations, museums, routes, shops, movies, archeological sites …a long tail. That’s also the case for recreational routes we follow and places we want to visit. Simply put “there is a bigger number of people who walked along the Eiffel tower than along the statue of Artevelde in Ghent”. Or there is a lot more people who did the Inca trail and the Camino de Santiago de Compostella vs the “Brueghel route in the Pajottenland”.
- Check out the peculiare example of Pompei and Heruclaneum.
- Check out this crazy story about Hallstatt
But that is even more so if the cost for stocking or distributing is not neglectable!
Or to express it with an example: if it is expensive to store and distribute information about a specific place (such as in a book), some places will be much less mentioned vs what the Pareto distribution predicts, and the top ones even more.
Or as described in Wikipedia: “Given enough choice, a large population of customers, and negligible stocking and distribution costs, the selection and buying pattern of the population results in the demand across products having a power law distribution or Pareto distribution”.
An important part here is “negligible stocking and distribution costs”. Which means that if you don’t have that, you don’t even get the Pareto distribution It’s even worse!
Let’s take an example. A movie-theatre is NOT a place with “negligible stocking and distribution costs”. It is expensive to provide 10 screens in different rooms in a city. Therefore, most of the movie theatres pick the movies which will do fine for 80% of the people. And tough if you belong to the 20% with other, more deviating interests. And that’s the same for books in a bookshop (space in a bookshop is also expensive). And space in a tourist magazine or a stand in a conference about tourism to promote places.
So can't you do anything about this?
In arguing through these data that museums behave like a brand-name market, we are basically saying that people go to museums not so much for what’s inside them, not for their offer in terms of art works displayed, but rather because of the name they have got for themselves. People do not choose what’s into the museum, the museum content, but rather the museum (brand-)name. It is the name in itself that attracts people.
Sure, there is something to do. Let’s start to get the conditions to get to at least the Pareto distribution:
“look for methods to reduce as much a possible the cost to make and distribute an extra item”
This is also known as the marginal cost.
An example: suppose I’m the responsible of tourism of country and I want to promote also the small place and my idea is to do this using cycling routes. I should look for a method that making and distributing an extra cycling route is not very expensive. If that would be the case, my budget (and even future budgets) will limit me to make extra routes. Suppose I would publish every route in a fantastic booklet with glossy paper, I would probably impress a lot of users to do that route and get people there. But I can’t do this for 1000 routes. An alternative would be to publish it digital. The cost of storing and distributing information in a digital way is marginal.
Even if you can come up with a method to keep the production of these routes as cheap as possible, you even fit more in this approach . And that’s why we created tools for you to do this yourself as a professional, semi-professional, or just somebody who likes to tell info about a specific region/tour, with no cost. Read here about:
That’s why we provide you a cheap (growing) community platform for distributing your content to others. Read here about:
That’s why we provide your tools to distribute your content in many possible ways on your site(s) and with extra output options for your content on mobile websites, GPS systems, and traditional map prints : Read here about
Fight the Pareto distribution
But you can argue that that Pareto distribution is not that great (especially if you are a small place in an not very well known area). Can’t we fight it more?
We believe you can by doing two things:
- Profile your info: slice and dice your info as much as possible for different interest-groups
- Connect to “the big ones”: Connect as much as possible to items people already know (to understand that, you have to read about the Dunbar number effect) .
Profiling your info Under Construction
Check also this picture and a great article why cycling tourism makes sense to fight the Pareto distribution:
Source picture: The Path Less Pedaled
Video about finding POIs in the Long Tail